No, I’m not just talking about how the famous Kardashians are fuelling social media superficiality and glorifying the culture of toxic diet pills and negative body image. Whether you agree with their social actions and self-aggrandising fame or not, from just a purely environmental perspective, the Kardashian-Jenner sisters wreak havoc on the our planet. It sounds cheesy, but having such immense power, fame and money comes with great responsibility. And they have shown absolutely none when it comes to the climate crisis.
In case you have been living under a rock, the Kardashian-Jenner clan are the children of momager Kris Jenner. All their names start with a K, with the exception of Rob, the only male and the mostly-ignored member of the family (though he did cause controversy with his relationship with Blac Chyna). There are 6 in total*, and almost all now have their own children. Their high-profile lives have been intensely documented in their reality television series Keeping Up With The Kardashians, which has been running since 2007 and is showing no signs of slowdown.
Over the years, the Kardashian-Jenners have become arguably the most famous celebrity family in the United States. Each of them boasts hundreds of millions of followers on Instagram (in fact most of them are part of the top 20 most followed IG accounts ever), their names always appear on Hollywood’s most prestigious guest lists, and they’ve lined their pockets pretty nicely with constantly sold-out products, from bicycle shorts to makeup. I’m not sure why they are still famous, but one thing is for sure–they are incredibly well known, and will remain so (at least for the meantime).
Fame and money aside, they have a global reach that speaks to millions of people all around the world. Yes, it’s important to acknowledge that their success and fame is no doubt, at least in part due to their own hard work as incredible businesswomen and brand builders. In a world, particularly that of business, which is dominated by men, the fortune, fame and following that the Kardashian-Jenner clan has built up is commendable.
Yet, with the enormous power they have amassed, they shown almost zero commitment to do anything real about the most urgent issues facing our planet today: the climate crisis, especially when you consider the fact that most of their fans and followers are part of Gen-Zers. Instead, at most, they have spoken about it several times, thrown some money at the Australian wildfires (which is definitely better than none), but have nodded away and continued on with their extravagant wasteful lifestyles, promoting overconsumption and carbon-intensive habits every single day.
A few weekends ago, the youngest of the sisters, Kylie Jenner (also known as the youngest self-made female billionaire in history thanks to her uber-successful makeup empire), hosted one of the most ridiculously over-the-top parties I have ever witnessed (online) for her two year old toddler Stormi Webster.
As if they didn’t set the bar high enough the year before, this year’s party, dubbed “Stormi World 2” boasted not one, not two, but three themed areas. It’s basically an entire theme park dedicated to the two-year-old: a massive slide fitted with a ballooning cartoon picture of Stormi’s face, a wearable Stormi head, a Stormi-themed claw machine with cushions printed with Stormi’s face, a Stormi shop with printed Stormi t-shirts, just to name a few. All I can think about is all the emissions and waste from the mountains of new production and transport that single party left behind.
Despite several of the Kardashian-Jenner sisters taking to social media to confirm that global warming and climate change is, in fact, so real, they have once again done nothing to back up their so-called pledges to become more sustainable. Kim Kardashian, for one, recently boasted that she has ditched all the plastic bottles in her fridge (and hopefully recycled them), which is great, but has simply replaced them with dozens of Voss water glass bottles and cartons of Flow water. I wonder if switching to filtered tap water and using a reusable bottle ever popped up as an idea?
Oh, and after she said that she would “absolutely” want to have dinner with the Swedish teen activist Greta Thunberg, whom she shares the “same” concerns about climate change, Kim proceeded to fly home from Armenia in a private jet.
With the news awash about the ongoing wildfires that have inundated Australia, displacing thousands and killing at least one billion animals and dozens of people, Kylie Jenner responded by reportedly donating US$1 million. Soon after, she posted an image on Instagram of her brand new purchase–mink fur slippers from Louis Vuitton. Animal cruelty aside, mink fur production leaves behind an intense environmental impact, from carbon emissions to eutrophication.
Meanwhile, Kendall Jenner recently showed off her drifting skills in a US$650,000 Rolls Royce, driving around in circles for absolutely no reason except for that the activity “makes me happy,” she defended.
In yet another recent environmental scandal, which seems honestly never-ending at this point, the Kardashians engaged in a food fight. In a clip from their upcoming episode of their reality TV series, shared by Khloe Kardashian, sisters Kourtney and Kim Kardashian and momager Kris decided to throw around pasta, salad and iced tea at each other as if the world isn’t threatened by food insecurity and everyday hunger didn’t exist in non-Kardashian areas of the world.
And do we even need to talk about the constant product launches from each of the clan members’ individual brands? From Khloe’s Good American jean venture to Kylie’s self-named Kylie Cosmetics and Kim’s KKW Beauty brand, the family is constantly fuelling the culture of obsessive consumption, telling consumers they always need more, and sending out millions of non-recyclable packaged single-use products and spewing out massive emissions while they continue to line their own pockets.
It is sobering and slightly depressing to see the plentiful examples of how little the famous sisters care about the planet, no matter how loud climate campaigners, youth strikers, scientists and experts shout. But there is also a glimmer of hope–the Kardashian-Jenners are in a position of such huge power to create a force for good. These are women who hold the ability to tune in the eyes and ears of entire generations, and could, if they really dedicated themselves, galvanise hundreds of thousands and perhaps millions of people to take climate action.
Here’s to hoping that celebrities will wake up. They can no longer, with their wealth, power and voice, continue to fan the earth’s flames. As Greta Thunberg told the crowd of world leaders and CEOs: “Our planet is still on fire.” And we’re desperately in need of mass, structural, collective action–whether it be from corporations, governments, high-profile celebs or individuals. Dear oh so influential Kardashian-Jenner sisters, won’t you please use your force for good?
Lead image courtesy of Keeping Up With The Kardashians.
*In chronological order: Kourtney Kardashian, Kim Kardashian, Khloe Kardashian, Rob Kardashian, Kendall Jenner and Kylie Jenner – all share a mother in Kris Jenner.